FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
When most USC Sumter students think of Swan Lake, the image of swans and Christmas lights, senior portraits and memories of long romantic walks on prom night flood their minds. Many people don't know about the hidden treasures that lie behind the gated lake adorned with bald cypress trees and beautiful iris which have made this park a national attraction. However, a current environmental class at the university seeks to add another aspect to these memories.
Students at USC Sumter are conducting an environmental study this semester at Swan Lake Iris Gardens. The project, entitled "Uncovering the Species of Swan Lake," will consist of cataloging and describing many of the species that inhabit the property, especially those that are native to the region. While the swans, irises, and other plantings are well known, many of the native species are not. Uncovering many of the native species here is a worthy endeavor. The data collected can be used to publicize an additional side of Swan Lake, since the class will work to consolidate its findings for distribution to the public, which may include a technical report, a brochure, a bird checklist. In addition, once we know what species are present, we can find out how to best care for them.
"We look forward to having local USC Students working on an environmental project in Swan Lake Iris Gardens. We as a community sometimes take for granted the amazing amount of natural habitat nestled in the center of our city. Upon completion of their work the city will have useable data in which we will share with the local citizens and visitors to Swan Lake Iris Gardens. We believe everyone will be excited with the efforts of the students and their findings," stated Susan Wild, Communications, Tourism & Recreations Director for the City of Sumter. Karleigh Brunson, a student involved in the project, sees the project as "an exciting opportunity to discover all of the different and maybe even new species just sitting in our community."
Austin Jenkins, instructor of Biology and Naturalist at USC Sumter brought the project request to Ms. Wild with the enthusiasm and excitement his students share while they are out walking the gardens. With similar projects in his previous portfolio he knew Swan Lake Iris Gardens would be a perfect setting for the next set of student goals. Since many species are present only during certain times of the year, the project will likely extend into the fall semester. This spring, the class is starting with the bird and plant life.